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Hurricane Season: Be Prepared with Standards!


New York, Aug 13, 2014

Each year, from June 1 through November 30, the Atlantic Hurricane Season descends on the United States’ eastern coastal regions, bringing with it worries about the possible effects of these massive storms. Thankfully, as the midpoint of this season approaches, all signs point to a less active, less destructive season than usual. But in good weather or in bad, voluntary consensus standards will be there to lend a helping hand.

When it comes the hurricanes, the major factor separating them from other tropical storms is the speed of their winds, which top 74 miles per hour. Thankfully, an American National Standard (ANS) from American National Standards Institute (ANSI) organizational member and accredited standards developer the Steel Door Institute (SDI) provides helpful guidance in this area. ANSI A250.13-2008, Testing and Rating of Severe Windstorm Resistant Components for Swinging Door Assemblies, establishes testing procedures for accurate load ratings for components used in exterior swinging door assembles, with the purpose of providing protection during hurricanes and other severe windstorms. Another standard, this one developed by ANSI member and audited designator ASTM International, sets down guidance related to hurricane wind–resistant glass. ASTM C1349-10, Standard Specification for Architectural Flat Glass Clad Polycarbonate, focuses on quality requirements for cut glass clad polycarbonate, which is used in a wide variety of buildings for hurricane resistance and security purposes, among other uses.

While the popular image of hurricanes focuses almost completely on their great gusts of wind and torrential rain, the vibrations they produce can pose a major threat of their own to houses and other buildings in affected areas. ISO 4866:2010, Mechanical vibration and shock - Vibration of fixed structures - Guidelines for the measurement of vibrations and evaluation of their effects on structures, includes principles related to vibrations caused by hurricanes, explosions, and construction work. The standard was developed by International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 108, Mechanical vibration, shock and condition monitoring, Subcommittee (SC) 2, Measurement and evaluation of mechanical vibration and shock as applied to machines, vehicles and structures. As the U.S. member body to ISO, ANSI holds leadership of ISO TC 108 and has delegated secretariat responsibilities to the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer. The U.S.’s David J. Evans serves as chair of ISO TC 108, while ASA serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG administrator to ISO TC 108 and SC 2.

While hurricanes are widely seen as a danger to homes in coastal areas, the threat they could pose to nuclear power plants and other important pieces of infrastructure is equally critical to address. ANSI/ANS 2.3-2011, Estimating Tornado, Hurricane, and Extreme Straight Line Wind Characteristics at Nuclear Facility Sites, covers relevant site phenomena caused by hurricanes and tornadoes, providing important data for consideration during the design of nuclear facilities. This ANS was developed by ANSI member and accredited standards developer the American Nuclear Society.

Hurricanes cannot be prevented, but steps can be taken to reduce the risks they pose to people, residences, and infrastructure. And voluntary standards are standing by to help.

ANSI Nanotechnology Standards Panel